News / Asia

Hundreds Turn Out to Support Same-Sex Marriage in Vietnam

Participants take part in a flash mob during a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi, Oct. 27, 2013.
Participants take part in a flash mob during a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi, Oct. 27, 2013.
Marianne Brown
Hundreds of people gathered in the center of Hanoi Sunday morning to watch a staged wedding ceremony between two same-sex couples ahead of a planned parliamentary debate on the topic next month.

Under the heat of an autumn morning in Hanoi, two same-sex couples dressed as brides and grooms took part in wedding ceremonies in front of around 300 people waving rainbow flags and holding colored balloons.

The couples exchanged rings and threw bouquets, much to the crowd’s delight. One of the brides, Linh, gave a short speech.

She said she was very happy to be able to take part in a wedding with the woman she loves.

The event was part of the “Toi Dong Y” festival, which translates as “I do,” or “I agree”, organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) groups across the country. In two weeks over 52,000 people have “liked” a Facebook page set up for the event.

One participant, 18-year-old Truong Duc Anh, said same-sex marriage is an important topic for Vietnam.

He said he believes love does not have a wrong or a right side and the most important thing is that society treats people equally when it comes to love.

The festival is being held ahead of a planned debate on revisions to the Marriage and Family Law at the National Assembly on November 5.

The draft does not include the legalization of same-sex marriage, but removes the article banning them in the current law and includes provisions for same-sex couples who live together.

One of the organizers - Le Quang Binh, director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) - said he believes same-sex marriage will be legalized eventually.

"I believe in people and I think that when everybody speaks out, everyone has to listen whoever you are. So that’s why we do it this way. We mobilize public opinion, LGBT, students, young people so when people speak their opinion, politicians will have to listen," Binh said. "And I believe that politicians are also human beings. They need time to understand."

Attitudes towards the LGBT community have changed greatly over the last few years in Vietnam, where belief in traditional patriarchal family values remains the norm. Vietnam's LGBT community has grown more confident in its activism, even conducting training workshops for local journalists to improve their representation of gay people in local media.

Last year, hundreds of people cycled through the center of Hanoi in August for the country’s first Gay Pride parade. An Internet sitcom (situation comedy) called “My Gay Best Friends” went viral, attracting over 1.5 million viewers, and a publisher released the country’s first biography of a transgender person.

"I think a lot of change has taken place already...Before people thought it was sensitive so they didn’t want to talk about this. But now people are willing to talk about this. Many people support and many people oppose but at least the social debate takes place. We believe that’s necessary for social change," stated Binh.

Binh said he thinks legalizing same-sex marriage would give the country a big boost in terms of Vietnam’s commitment to international human rights standards. The country has received growing criticism in recent years for restrictions on freedom of speech and the increasing numbers of political bloggers receiving jail terms.

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent — Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More